Monday, April 8, 2024

My A.I. Gm Experience: "Day Tripper" pt.1

 It is no secret that I love playing around with machine-learning models to create images, songs, and the like. "Generative A.I." is entertaining, even if its products are usually dull and uninspired. And you can get some damned good results with ethically sourced tools.But the moment you try to create anything too complex with it you end up witnessing otherworldly horrors beyond human comprehension.

(Believe me, if my hand's weren't fucked up, I would be doing my own illustrating! It would be less traumatic.)

I seriously doubt that an A.I., especially one trained by a large corporation, could do a great job running a game. But could one carefully trained by an indie developer do a halfway decent job? Recently I tried out the Scifi LLM "A.I." role-playing experience "Day Tripper" by Tod Foley, designer of Core Micro and Uniquicity, (and generally fun interlocutor.)

I am still processing my experience with "Day Tripper" and I am going to present a transcript of my first adventure here. And then I will pick Tod's brain to clarify my thoughts, and share my analysis of the experience with you in my next post.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Thr Trans-Real News


I just realized that I wasn't sharing my podcast here with the people who might appreciate it the most!

Trans-Real News is my weird fiction audio-drama podcast framed as a newscast from the Astral Plane as time, space, and reality is collapsing.

Over the course of the 40 episodes I have planned (10 are already recorded and edited.) The newscasters will slowly go from unscrupulous hacks and shills to heroes in a war against supernatural authoritarians.

It isn't TTRPG material (yet), but I hope it will inspire people looking for gonzo setting ideas to steal from it.

Here are my first three episodes:

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Returning to Xen

This is another article to file under "I don't know who this will interest":

I am returning to the Silver Gull Campaign after a hiatus. I find coming up with material for it so much easier than the CHV Natani game.

It has been awhile, and my players  were asking for a reminder of the events of the game so far. Moreover, I am looking to onboard a new player. So every was asking for a summary, if I could put something together.

Because I am trying to get into the podcast production and editing biz, I decided to take this as an opportunity to practice my podcast design and mastering. It is about half an hour, covers an overview of the campaign, and a summary that covers around 70 sessions, that is pretty condensed.

 Listen to it here

If you are interested... or want to see what I can do, check it out above.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Scrap: Remind me Why I'm Doing This Again?!

 Two articles ago, I mentioned my project Scrap. I have been itching to create a campaign set in a dreary Sci-Fi crapsack world where space colonists sent through wormholes in the 1980s have been cut off from Earth and met a series of disasters that have forced them to abandon all but a few of their colonies and break into six dystopian factions. PCs are young people who have never known Earth, and are now serving their faction by plundering old planetary outposts for food, water, air, and technology in hopes of holding on long enough to rebuild.

The major inspirations being Duskers, Lethal Company, We Fix Space Junk, Kakos Industries, and Dining in the Void

Friday, March 22, 2024

Shadow Over Sojenka Relfections

 I have been playing various OSR games with Stephen Smith, a true gaming mad scientist for three years now, and as we are coming up on a close to his second campaign, which ran for over 100 sessions, I wanted to describe the mad experiment he ended up running in the campaign he called Shadow Over Sojenka.

Unlike a few of the other articles you might read, mine is no "postmortem"; I am still playing in Sojenka. I have an ancient evil to stop, and a town to build. I hope to be playing in Sojenka for another year, or preferably, many more.

First off, compliments to the chef: Stephen doesn't do traditional Western Fantasy. He starts with a setting that takes you further afield. The first setting we ran was a mix of post-apocalyptic and late Byzantine Empire with a zombie apocalypse going on in the background. This latest campaign was set in a culture built heavily on Slavic myth and culture in the Early Modern period. In both cases he creates rich, weird elements such as unique monsters, magic items, and spells that make certain you are always meeting something unexpected.

Second, each campaign has been a science lab. Stephen is trying to hack his way into experiencing a version of D&D that is closer to its wargame origins... and a rich campaign that requires a little front-loading, but otherwise took very little effort on the GM's part once play commenced. Some of his experiments have been absolutely fascinating to take part in.

With Shadow Over Sojenka, Stephen was inspired by The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg to try to capture the essence of what Dungeons & Dragons must have been like when it was being run as a series of experiments by the war gaming societies in Wisconsin around 1973. Including trying to reverse-engineer some elements of play that disappeared as TTRPG culture evolved to become its own thing separate from wargaming in the early '80s.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

In Search of the Best Crapsack Future


So I have had two (video-) gaming obsessions and three podcast obsessions that have managed to collide in a perfect storm of inspiration

And that has had me grinding away like mad at my google docs for about a week now.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Deathtrap Lite: the Keep on the Borderlands Principle

When I set out to build Deathtrap Lite, one of the core ideas I had in designing the game was that I wanted it to be compatible with most TSR-era D&D modules and OSR adventures on the market, while still being mechanically distinct.

Inspired by a video from Questing Beast, I made one of my rubrics "Can I still play The Keep on the Borderlands with this?" If the answer became"No." I adjusted until it could.

The whole point of the exercise was to make a game that was built on a particular mechanic, just to see if I could: a player-facing one based on an evolution of the Taps & Tankards simple skill system and Stephen Smith's World of Weirth adjustments to it, but what would be the point if my readers, who are mostly an OSR crowd couldn't use it, after all?

I also was curious to see if there is a market for OSR-comaptibke non-D&D games.